Illustrator Christina Mattison Ebert shares depictions and information on coastal birds
Often seen roaming shallow coastal water bodies with ibises, herons and egrets, the roseate spoonbill stands out from the crowd because of its telltale pink plumage. In fact, this species was once hunted nearly to extinction because of its stunning feathers, but is now considered to be safe in terms of conservation status.
A year-round resident of the Texas Gulf Coast, the roseate spoonbill can be seen wading slowly and grabbing mud with its beak, shaking its head from side to side to sift out crustaceans, small fish, bugs and plants. The spoonbill’s diet is responsible for its distinct coloration because the crustaceans they consume contain pigments called carotenoids that cause the feathers to take on a rosy hue.
Fun fact: The oldest known wild roseate spoonbill lived to be at least 15 years and 10 months old.